Sigiriya, the ancient what?

So we heard all about this ancient palace built on top of a massive rock in the middle of the vast forests. It towers 200m high and has a lot of history and archaelogical significance. The name of the place is derived from Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock and it’s a UNESCO world heritage site. But because this site is also one of the most visited attractions in Sri Lanka, we all know what that means… Tourist prices + inflation.


A bunch of fellas I met in the hostel in Colombo and I headed out to Dambulla and spent a night there in a pretty nice spot with amazing wifi. This is really good news for all of us because the wifi in Sri Lanka is practically non existent in most places. We spend the night with mosquito coil burning all around us and playing some music

Took a bus out towards Sigiriya first thing in the morning ! Many people would offer rides to Sigiriya but the local bus is only going to cost under a dollar and takes you minutes away from the entrance of the attraction.

I guess what happens next is quite predictable, we never made it to the attraction we specially travelled here to see. The main reason being the fact that tourist prices are practically 30 times of the local price. We didn’t see the worth of parting with US$30 just to climb a rock, so we did the alternative – We climbed the rock next to it instead, which only cost US$2. And that underrated rock is *drum roll* – Pidurangala! (Hey the name is pretty bad ass too)


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It wasn’t a far walk from the entrance to Sigiriya, possibly a 10-15 min walk which many trishaw drivers tried to talk us out of

As expected Pidurangala was empty, which was amazing because the hike up had no tourists/directions/signages. Got slightly lost along the way but our refusal to pay for a guide didn’t land us in any trouble when we simply marched into the woods. It was actually quite fun to explore around with no one anywhere!

Adam & Tom show us some classic Sri Lankan poses we see in advertisement boards and posters along the streets haha

Check out this huge sleeping buddha sculpture we found on the way up!

The view was spectacular when we were up there, and so happy with the fact that it was empty and we could sit around to relax for a bit and get some sun.


At some point we used Adrian’s camera with the super awesome zoom function as binoculars, just to check out what’s going on over at the rock we couldn’t afford to see… There were ladders and railings and and many people on the top of the rock. We waved, hoping somebody was also looking over to our side.

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The thing is you’d want to be somewhere where you could have a cool view of the actual attraction, right? Kind of like being on the an alternative trail in Nepal so you could see Everest, instead of being on Everest itself. Or like being at a viewpoint where you could see the Tower Bridge in London, instead of being ON that bridge. Okay whatever, the point is we were being cheap asses and US$30 can actually buy you 30 meals in Sri Lanka and 100 packets of ginger cookies so no way we were going to pay that.

So for all you fellow broke backpackers out there, remember if you can’t afford Sigiriya, there’s always Pidurangala. 🙂


Wanderer of lands, searcher of souls. Last seen tree hugging and running wild into the mountains. Might have eaten all the ice cream in the tub.

1 Response

  1. August 28, 2014

    […] DALHOUSIE (SIGIRIYA) Let’s just say we never made it to Sigiriya because of the crazy inflated price that tourists had to pay. Instead we headed for Pidurangala, the rock next to Sigiriya. Read more about that here : Sigiriya, the ancient what? […]

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